The Ethical Implications of Using A.I. to Help Do Your Job

While you don’t have to worry about artificial intelligence (A.I.) taking your job anytime soon, the truth is that there are many roles—in many different job sectors—that can and will start using A.I. as a tool. But what are the ethical implications of using it to help you do your job? When is it OK (and, perhaps more importantly, when is it not OK) to use it? Read on for some tips on how to navigate the complex and nuanced landscape of this relatively new technology.


Acceptable: Using it to analyze data

Some jobs require you to perform statistical analysis based on large amounts of information and data. It’s perfectly fine—and quite advantageous—to let A.I. quickly sift through the numerical results that it would have taken hours to do by hand. Financial advisors in particular may find it a useful tool (not a replacement!) for suggesting more successful investment opportunities for clients, although anyone in a numbers-based field will likely find much relief in being able to hand off the more tedious number-crunching tasks.

Acceptable: Using it as an email-writing assistant

While A.I.’s ability to write non-stilted paragraphs is still fairly limited, short form writing like email is definitely doable. Still, you’ll want to consider whatever email it writes as a rough draft that needs to be looked over by you and your human eyes before being sent out. If you view it as a “writing assistant” or a collaborative tool, you’ll likely find it can shave off quite some time, especially if a large part of your job consists of sending out emails to various coworkers and clients.

Acceptable with caveats: Using it to replace your search engine

Google’s supreme reign as everyone’s favorite search engine just might eventually come to an end if ChatGPT has anything to say about it. While there are certainly drawbacks to using A.I. as a search engine right now—its “facts” must be fact-checked, and its information isn’t as up to date as search engines like Google—it does have some advantages. You don’t have to worry about advertisers paying to get their search results at the top of the page (at least not yet), and ChatGPT gives you an immediate answer instead of a list of links from which to choose. Keep in mind—just like human error exists, A.I. error exists.

Acceptable with caveats: Using it creatively

The use of A.I. in the creative world—that of writers, visual artists, songwriters, etc.—is a hotly debated topic and will likely be for years to come. Some people come down on the side of favoring human art for the training, talent, and time that imbues the piece with meaning and, thus, value. There are others, however, who see nothing wrong with using A.I to generate a piece of visual art or write a song, arguing that it takes talent to use A.I. successfully in creative endeavors.

In this case, you’ll have to follow your own research and moral guide to decide what you feel is acceptable—although it should go without saying that any art generated by A.I. should be credited appropriately.

Unacceptable: Using it without taking hidden biases into consideration

Because A.I. is based on information that is already out in the world, it’s been shown to unwittingly show bias toward certain groups. This can be a major pitfall for those workers wishing to use it for tasks that can feed those hidden biases, such as recruiters who wish to skip sifting through stacks of resumes or criminal justice workers attempting to identify “high-risk” defendants.

Unacceptable: Using it when it puts worker safety on the line

The more A.I. is employed, the more of a central role it’s bound to take—including in the use of heavy machinery. From driverless taxis to automated assembly lines, machines and humans will increasingly work alongside each other. The likelihood of a machine malfunction that can seriously injure a human worker must be evaluated. Efficiency should not present a risk to human safety.

Workplace ethics inevitably evolve as new technologies—and new opportunities—arise. That’s why it’s important to periodically check in with your employer (and your own conscience) to see how A.I. can help make certain elements of your job easier and in some cases, less prone to human error.

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